Joy and Anguish

I spent my morning with 6 lovely ladies and Beth Moore.  Today was my Bible study for the book of James.  We have been in the study for the past couple weeks but we are only in the first chapter of James.  Actually, James 1:2 where James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”

This joy isn’t the “Gosh isn’t this great– my house is in foreclosure, my husband left me, and my teenager is in jail–let’s just Praise the Lord!”  Oh no.  This joy is a joy that is much deeper-much true-r than the false joy I described above.

Joy is something that in this case comes from the Lord.  “The Joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10).”  When we face trials don’t we need strength?  What better source than the True Source?

Pain.  Not a word we like to think about, but  it’s a necessary one. When we find ourselves in the midst of “trials many kinds” we will also find ourselves in some kind of pain.  Pain over someone or something we cannot control, fix, help, or re-do usually.  Sometimes we even think that the pain is random.  There is no purpose, no point, no reason.

Today I realized though that the pain I have experienced, even the anguish I have occasionally felt over something or someone, has had a purpose.

John 16:20-24 talks about the pain of childbirth among other things.  The focus of this portion of Scripture is comparing joy and anguish.  The word anguish here means “to crush, press, compress, squeeze.”*   It is exactly what it feels like when a woman is in full labor.  Her body is experiencing all of this for a purpose.  New Life.

Verse 21 in John 16 says that “when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”  It’s true.  If it wasn’t, Adam and Eve would have had only one child.  The key is that the pain and anguish is like a forced greenhouse for growth.

The learning curve comes when we need to recognize the anguish of childbirth is for growth or it ends up being nothing at all (see Isaiah 26:17-18).

I know for me, that I will endure all manner of pain and anguish as long as I know there is going to be a blessing on the other end.  If it was meaningless pain, that only produced wind that would cause such heartache for me.

Beth Moore put it this way, “You can live with pain a whole lot better than you can live with purposelessness.”

When it is time to go through another season of pain and anguish I pray I will remember that “Anguish is meant to lead to a birth.”**

Your love never fails… You make all things work together for my good.”***


*Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1996), 1632.

**Beth Moore James study, Video session #3

***Your Love Never Fails~~Jesus Culture


About gretchenr17

Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Writer, farmer, fellow sojourner... at every turn I learn a bit more about God's wild mercies.
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